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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  January 17, 2005
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Producer Prices drop sharply

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Wholesale prices fell a surprising seven-tenths of one percent last month.

The decline was prompted by a four-percent decline in energy prices, the biggest drop in 20 months. It was much sharper than analysts had expected.

The government also reported that the core rate, which doesn't include food and energy, was up one-tenth of one percent.

For the year, inflation at the wholesale level was up by four-point-one percent. Most of that was the result of surging oil prices in the first ten months of the year.


Production up for the year, first time in four years

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Industrial production grew faster than expected last month, rising eight-tenths of one percent.

That enabled it to post a gain for the year for the first time in four years.

The report from the Federal Reserve showed there were increases in most major industry groups.

Utility output was up a sharp two-point-two percent. That was the result of an increase in the use of electricity and natural gas because of colder weather.


Inventories rise

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Commerce Department says business inventories rose by one percent in November.

It was the largest increase since a one-percent jump in July and is a much bigger gain than analysts were expecting.

The Commerce Department report showed that compared to a year earlier, inventories rose by almost eight percent in November, with business sales up more than ten percent.

Auto inventories shot up one-point-six percent and analysts look for them to tumble in December.

That's because cars were sold at a blistering pace last month.


Boeing to end production of its smallest jet

CHICAGO (AP) _ Boeing has announced it will end production of its smallest passenger jet, the 717, sometime next year.

It said market conditions don't support continuing production beyond the orders that it now has.

Boeing says it plans to take a 615 (m) million-dollar charge against earnings because of that and the loss of a 23 (b) billion-dollar deal to supply refueling tankers to the Air Force.


Hewlett-Packard combines printer, PC units

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Dow Jones/AP) _ Hewlett-Packard has combined its printing unit with its personal-computer division.

It says the move is aimed at strengthening the company's market position and getting new products out faster.

It also ends speculation that the technology giant would follow competitors in spinning off divisions.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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